Sunday

3rd Jul 2022

Secret deal between EU-3 blocks Blair as EU president

  • According to media reports, Germany's Angela Merkel is not backing Tony Blair to become the new EU president (Photo: European Community, 2006)

UK prime minister Gordon Brown has agreed to a secret deal with Germany and France which effectively rules out Tony Blair as a new EU president but the British ex-leader is also interested in the new role of Europe's foreign chief, a UK daily is reporting.

"We have agreed with France and Germany not to back a candidate one of the others doesn't want," a British diplomat is quoted saying by the Independent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

French President Nicolas Sarkozy previously backed Mr Blair as a possible candidate to head the EU's 27 member states while Mr Brown praised his potential qualities for the job but did not specifically back him.

At the same time, German chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly opposed to such a scenario, which means that - under a new deal referred to by the British diplomat in the article – her opposition would automatically spoil Mr Blair's chances of being supported by any of Europe's three biggest countries.

Apart from Tony Blair, the other candidate mentioned most often and thought to enjoy backing by Berlin and Paris is Luxembourg's prime minister and veteran of the EU stage, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The position of the EU's president is contained in the bloc's Lisbon Treaty under the official heading of President of the European Council. The European Council refers to the regular meetings of EU leaders.

Talks have begun on what kind of salary, personnel and other perks the president should have.

But the actual job description of the EU president – a job that can be held for up to five years - still has yet to be decided. While his or her appointment would replace the current practice whereby the bloc is headed by a different EU leader every six months, it is unclear whether the role will be merely administrative or something more powerful.

In chairing the 27-nation bloc, the EU president would work together with another post created by the Lisbon Treaty, the EU foreign minister.

The new post will merge together the chair of Javier Solana as the EU's current foreign policy chief and that of Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the current European commissioner for external relations.

According to the Independent, Tony Blair may also be interested in becoming the new EU foreign minister.

The Lisbon Treaty is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2009.

Nine member states have already ratified the treaty, others are planning to hold a parliamentary vote at some stage this year. Only Ireland will decide by a referendum, due on 12 June.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Interpreters at the European Parliament are fed up with remote interpretation, citing auditory health issues given the poor quality of the online sessions.

EU opens door to Ukraine in 'geopolitical' summit

EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us